Jim Astorian — Kronberge, Germany

Driving back gave me lots of time to think about my time at Inside Passage and appreciate the experience. I really miss the time in the shop with all of you. I enjoyed the experience more than I can describe. Being there 6 consecutive weeks makes a tremendous difference in your emotional attachment to the people and to the type of work you are doing. Looking back at my time with you, I know that I made the right decision choosing Inside Passage and spending 6 weeks in Roberts Creek.

I am re-reading The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking and appreciate its sentiments for the first time, especially the first 60 pages. Thanks to you, Robert, and to Jim for the inspiration to spend more time feeling, listening, smelling – just sensing wood. I have no idea if what I make will be any good, but it will be more in tune with the wood itself.

I know first-hand how tough it is to make a start-up operation work financially. I also understand the emotional and physical strain that it brings to the proprietors. I think the way you two work together is impressive. Keep that alive and Robert please stay healthy! In addition to providing kudos for both of you, however, I would like to support the school in some way that makes sense. I was thinking about helping you build out the gallery with student work. I would make available for the next 3 years an amount each year for acquiring student work. The pieces would stay in the gallery for 2 years after acquisition date and then would be mine to leave there or move. The gallery would win, in that it has more work to display. The students would have some income. I would acquire beautiful work at a fair price.